Mario Rabbids is a Hilarious Turn-Based RPG

#NintendoSwitch #mariorabbids pic.twitter.com/Du5VoWd1z7

— Fred Twum-Acheampong (@fromfredsswitch) April 13, 2020

Mario Rabbids Mashup is Great

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Mario Rabbids for short) is a surprisingly fun, story-driven RPG that evokes the best of two worlds. The game has been out for two and a half years, but I just picked it up around Black Friday 2019.

I was drawn in by the praise from the gaming community and the super low price, so I figured I’d add it to my Switch collection. I was looking for a relaxing game that I could play after hours of Apex. Mario Rabbids hit a sweet spot of chill and challenging.

The premise of the game is fairly straightforward. Rabbids have been teleported through a vortex along with the Mario universe by a device that can merge two things together. The resulting scenario creates Rabbid forms of some of our favorite Mario characters, as well as some very interesting opponents.

Here are some of my favorite things about Mario Rabbids, plus some tips to get newbies off on the right foot!

#NintendoSwitch #mariorabbids pic.twitter.com/iNESLDxoao

— Fred Twum-Acheampong (@fromfredsswitch) April 13, 2020

Story

The storyline in Mario Rabbids feels like something out of a child’s dreams! A version of the Supamerge helmet has been done in numerous cartoons and it’s a shame that one doesn’t exist in the real world.

You battle your way through enemies that aren’t too scary but can be punishing enough to evoke feelings of rage. 

****SPOILER ALERT****

Bowser Jr. turns out to be not so bad of a child and his dad, of course, makes an appearance as a boss!

****SPOILER OVER****

In between battles, the game throws puzzle challenges at you to test your wit. These involve everything from arranging blocks in a certain layout to rearranging the direction of pipes. The challenges are a nice change of pace that put your brain to work.

The plot is silly enough that you can poke holes in it but also makes enough sense that you can wrap your head around it. You’ll find a combination of linear progression and frequent doses of comedic relief. Mario Rabbids is an enjoyable cross-universe adventure!

Mario Rabbids Peach Kingdom

Visuals

The Mario Rabbids designers did a great job of mixing the graphics styles of both games. Visually, the game leans slightly towards the Mario side of things, with vibrant colors and expressive character models. Rabbids lends a bit of its darker side to the game but it meshes well.

The backgrounds are detailed with scenes representative of each world’s theme. I was impressed by how much was going on in the background as I moved through the stages. In certain spots, you could even zoom in for a bit of dialogue from the environmental characters!

Visually, Mario Rabbids echoes the silliness of the rabbids while maintaining the smoothness of your typical AAA Mario title.

Audio

Mario Rabbid’s soundtrack moves between cheerful bounciness and semi-intense urgency depending on if you’re at the castle or in battle. Grant Kirkhope composed the music for the game and it meets the high expectations. You may be familiar with his other works, including Goldeneye 007 and Donkey Kong Land 2.

Aside from the great music, the sound effects in Mario Rabbids are spot on. While there isn’t any traditional voice acting, each character has a collection of fresh onomatopoeias to express their mood. Beep-O has its beeps, Yoshi has his iconic grunts, and each Rabbid character produces gibberish that would impress any of the minions.

The icing on the cake is a unique set of sound effects for in-game actions. You can almost feel the bounces and kicks as your characters glide across the screen. 

Mario Rabbids is a game that you’ll want to play with the volume on loud and you shouldn’t be surprised to notice your head nodding to the upbeat tunes!

Battles

I’ve never played any of the XCOM games, but a few folks from the Average Gamer community have. Their feedback, combined with what I’ve read online, confirms the heavy inspiration for the Mario Rabbids game.

The turn-based battle system is nothing new, but Mario Rabbids takes the formula and makes it accessible to the masses. You can pick up the basics of combat through the first few battles and the mechanics are very straightforward.

I appreciate how the layout of the map creates multiple ways to attack your enemy or protect yourself from damage. The developers also remove RNG from consideration by having static percentages for successful attacks and defenses.

Mario Rabbids incorporates a solid variety of enemies to keep the game from getting stale. The opponents scale in difficulty as the game progresses, but you’ll also be faced with new enemy abilities when you get further along.

I completed the main story mode and many of the secondary challenges earlier this year. Here’s my list of tips to help you win more matches and defeat the megabug!

Mario Rabbids Megabug Boswer

Battle Tips

You’ll breeze through the first several battles, but the difficulty eventually ramps up, making a perfect round a distant memory. Lucky for you, I’ve got some tips to make things a bit simpler!

  1. High ground is king – This can be said in many of the games that I play, and it’s especially important in Mario Rabbids. Most primary attacks rely on line of sight in order to do damage. You can avoid enemy fire completely by maintaining a steep angle overhead. Remember, this works both ways. Make sure to use your attack from an opportune position before placing yourself out of reach of the enemy.
  2. Make the most of movement damage – Aside from firing your weapon, Mario Rabbids lets you do physical damage via dashes and stomps (affectionately, kicks and boops). This game mechanic allows you to weaken the enemy before using your weapon action. Once you’ve leveled up these abilities, you will easily be able to take out an enemy in one turn. Combine a physical attack with a shot from your weapon to make short work of bad rabbids.
  3. Choose your attack wisely – There are a few main ways to inflict damage on an enemy: 1) hit them with a melee weapon (ie. Mario’s hammer) 2) shoot a projectile out of your primary gun OR 3) send an AOE explosive towards the enemy. There’s a cooldown on 1 and 3, so it’s important that you plan when to use your non-primary attacks. Based on your location, you might be limited in your options, so make sure you have the right weapon available on your turn.
  4. Plan a few steps out – A major component of turn-based games is having the room to execute all of your team’s actions before the CPU is able to counter (with the exception of Hero Sight-type actions in Mario Rabbids). Take advantage of the Tacticam to plan your route of movement and your plan for attack. You won’t always have full information about reinforcements entering the battlefield. However, you’ll at least be able to determine an ideal route of wiping out the visible enemies.
  5. Be quick but don’t hurry – You earn a “perfect” rating on a match by completing the objectives within a certain number of turns. While you won’t always know the expected timeframe to ace that fight, you should lean heavily towards completing the round as quickly as possible. Remember, you never want to put your team in a position that is going to do more harm than good. Take an extra action to reposition yourself if it means keeping your team alive for the remainder of the battle.
  6. Let sleeping dogs lie – Sometimes it’s better not to attack an enemy at all. More specifically, Smashers and Bucklers are two opponents who you may choose to ignore for a round. Smashers move towards you when you fire at them and Bucklers have a giant shield that blocks incoming damage. You’ll see scenarios where it’s more advantageous to fire at smaller opponents or just end your turn early.
Customization

Mario Rabbids puts you in the driver seat of the battle by opening up three facets of combat: team selection, weapon choice, and a skill tree. This customization feels like the right level of variability without overwhelming the player with hardcore decision-making. Here’s my take on each!

Team Selection

You start the adventure with three characters and gradually build out the roster of heroes. Mario, as the leader of the group, will always be in your team composition. It’s up to the player to choose two additional heroes to round out the team.

The game provides a brief summary of each individual to inform the player of that character’s playstyle: Rabbid Luigi is a defensive specialist, Yoshi delivers a power-packed punch from afar, etc. I found that my strongest team consisted of two heroes who join your squad in the latter half of the game – Rabbid Yoshi and Non-Rabbid Peach. 

Rabbid Yoshi’s ultra dash ability allows him to dash up to 5 enemies in one turn, inflicting as much as 90 damage per kick! This insane feature, combined with a damage-absorbing shell, makes him a staple in my lineup.

Vanilla Peach is the better of two healers in the game, in my opinion. She can use AOE healing on every turn and it has solid range. Additionally, she is one of the few characters with two great technique abilities: Royal Gaze and Protection.

These two worked well for my style of play, but it’s really about finding the heroes who best emulate the way you like to do battle. Ultimately, you should prioritize your personal efficiency over what the internet tells you to do. This trio has my seal of approval and may be a good fit for you!

Weapon Choice

Every hero has a base weapon in both the primary and secondary slots. These starter weapons don’t pack much of a punch but can carry you through the first several battles. As you acquire more coins and unlock new blueprints, you can purchase stronger weapons.

The weapons in Mario Rabbids are tiered, where you’ll have a couple of options that cost the same but have different effects. The overall damage in each tier is generally equivalent, but some will have added buffs against specific enemies.

Stone is the ultimate super effect, making the hero/rabbid on the receiving end essentially useless for that turn. If you can afford the stone option, go with that one.

Skill Tree

The skill tree in Mario Rabbids may look busy at first, but there’s actually a good amount of duplicates across the heroes. My advice is to increase your movement skills early in the game.

There’s nothing more frustrating than being one space away from being able to hit an enemy. Likewise, it always feels bad when you try to retreat out of harm’s way, but still end up getting bonked.

This is the one area of the game where I wish the devs had put more thought into things. The movement and ‘other’ trees are practically the same for all heroes, Hero Sight is duplicated too many times (including by the enemy rabbids), and I don’t see any use for Golden Shot Plus.

I would have preferred to see more unique abilities across the board, but there’s enough here so that your team ends up with a well-rounded kit.

Mario Rabbids Battle HQ
Mario Rabbids Team Selection
Mario Rabbids Weapon Selection
Mario Rabbids Skill Tree

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Endgame

After completing the main storyline, there are many features to keep you engrossed in the Mario Rabbids world for hours!

At the Washing Machine, you can replay any chapters to try to earn a higher score or play through increasingly-difficult challenges. Bring a friend to the Buddydome for some co-op mayhem!

I don’t have any amiibos, but the Rabbolatory unlocks some cool weapons if you have the appropriate accessories. You can skip the museum altogether though…

If you’re in the mood for something more relaxing, just walk through each world collecting coins and any items that were previously unreachable!

Mario Rabbids final boss

Mario Rabbids Delivers on the Hype

Honestly, I was pretty skeptical when reading the description and initial reviews online, but I’m so glad that I picked up Mario Rabbids! It’s sure to take your mind off things while generating laughs in these quarantine times.

You can complete the main story in less than 24 hours, but you’re looking at about 44 hours to complete everything that Mario Rabbids has to offer.

If you’ve played through this mashup, I’d love to hear your tips, tricks, and thoughts! For gamers who haven’t played yet, what are you waiting for?

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